Ryanair returns to profit, eyes strong outlook

LONDON – Irish airline Ryanair on Monday announced a return to profit in its first half as the aviation sector recovers following the lifting of Covid travel restrictions.

Profit after tax came in at 1.37 billion euros (dollars) in the six months to the end of September after a net loss of 48 million euros a year earlier, Ryanair said in a statement.

Ryanair said it expected full-year profit of between 1.0 and 1.2 billion euros, adding that it did not expect the no-frills carrier to be hurt by Europe’s cost-of-living crisis owing to soaring inflation.

“The recovery for the remainder of full-year 2022/23 remains fragile and could yet be impacted by new Covid variants or adverse geopolitical events such as Ukraine,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said in the statement.  

“However forward bookings, both traffic and fares, remain strong… into the peak Christmas travel period.”  

O’Leary said he hoped the sector would avoid a repeat of last year’s lockdowns caused by Covid’s Omicron variant “which damaged last Christmas at such short notice”. 

He added that “concerns about the impact of recession and rising consumer price inflation on Ryanair’s business model have been greatly exaggerated”.  

O’Leary said he expects the airline “to grow strongly in a recession as consumers won’t stop flying, but rather they will become more price sensitive”.  

Ryanair said it flew 95 million passengers in its first half, up from 39 million one year earlier.

Revenue more than trebled to 6.6 billion euros. – AFP